As we say goodbye to a very different year and welcome the light back and look forward to spring, I wanted to say thank you to all those who helped shore up our work and impact in 2020.
I’m so proud of our team and thankful to our volunteers, community partners, and donors. Despite the uncertainty and restrictions we managed to launch new programs, adapt existing ones and still have a massive impact.
Above all else, we have hope and energy and exciting plans for the new year!
Here’s some highlights from 2020:
We responded to COVID-19 by relaunching a Grow to Give program in Hamilton and gathered over 340lbs of fresh healthy produce from gardeners and delivered it to Neighbour to Neighbour food centre. We partnered with McQuesten Urban Farm to support a massive spring online seedling sale.
We overcame the challenge of not being able to deliver our educational programs in schools or welcome classes or groups to EcoHouse by introducing new remote versions of our Nature Ninjas, Fresh Air for Kids, and Power to Change programs. We also brought together a group of local eco-businesses and zero waste champions to create the Eco Hamilton Collective. This Collective led several virtual eco-conscious community campaigns and giveaways in 2020.
We safely gathered our awesome volunteers to plant 300 trees along a treeless stretch of King Street in Ward 5. We also coordinated community volunteers to Depave an asphalt boulevard and create a beautiful garden space on Barton St. with our partners at Edudeo Ministries, Barton BIA, and Adele Pierre Landscaping, and many generous landscaping suppliers and donors. We collaborated with five homeowners in Dundas to create beautiful new rain gardens. We featured these and other ‘Catch the RAIN’ early adopters – homeowners that are managing stormwater naturally and helping to reduce flooding and prevent water pollution – in a series of green infrastructure tour videos.Renovations are underway at EcoHouse both inside and out. Working with our Heritage Facility partners at the City of Hamilton we are updating our century-old flooring and installing new windows. We are also revamping our educational displays and restoring our 2-acre property. We developed invasive species removal plans and volunteers helped us remove several invasive tree species overtaking our woodland gardens. We are working to restore several gardens and are planning a new meadow planting, a Miyawaki ‘mini urban forest’ test plot, a permaculture planting with apple trees, and adding more native trees, shrubs and pollinator plants to increase biodiversity. We also added a new outdoor Hamilton Seed Library at EcoHouse and several seed sharing hub locations at other little libraries around the city. We distributed over 400 packages of donated veggie and native plant seeds at these 5 locations.
We also completed a huge number of energy audits and home winterproofing retrofits and delivered significant greenhouse gas emission reductions as a result. We were encouraged to be able to help over 350 homeowners renovate for energy conservation in 2020 – despite being shut down for three months and the challenges of Covid. This year we also joined the Bay Area Climate Change Council Home Energy Retrofit Implementation Team to plan a regional approach to increase support for residential energy emission reduction programs.
We are especially grateful to our private donors. In this difficult year you made a difference by helping us more than double our donations and the number of monthly donors supporting our work.
2020 marked our 25th year of supporting climate action in Hamilton and neighbouring communities. We didn’t celebrate with a party but we are nevertheless proud as punch to reach this milestone. We look forward to another 25 years of impact and change! Onwards.
Yours in community, Giuliana